This has more to do with Domingo German and Gio Urshela than the injured Luis Severino and Miguel Andujar.
Would the Yankees have a comfortable lead in the AL East if Severino was in the rotation and Andujar at third base instead of German starting every fifth day and Urshela providing outstanding defense at third and clutch hitting?
Even though Severino, who hasn’t pitched yet this year, and Andujar, who had season-ending shoulder surgery in the first month of the season, were major contributors a year ago, German and Urshela might be better with almost four months of the season finished.
The duo certainly shined in the Yankees’ 6-2 win over the Rays in the first game of a Yankee Stadium doubleheader Thursday when the winners extended their AL East lead over the second place Rays to seven lengths.
German, who worked without command of his curveball but used the change-up effectively, won for the third straight time by limiting the Rays to two runs in the first inning when Austin Meadows and Yandy Diaz started the game with homers. German went six innings, allowed four hits and faced one batter with a runner in scoring position. He is 12-2 and lowered the ERA to 3.38. The 12 wins tied German for the AL lead with Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn, a Yankee last year.
“He continues to show you why he has become a good pitcher,’’ Aaron Boone said of German. “He didn’t have a good breaking ball and obviously hung a couple in the first inning and you saw a guy continue to pitch.’’
Urshela’s two-run homer in the second off Yonny Chirinos in the second tied the score, 2-2. After a single in the fourth, Urshela drove in a run with a double in the three-run fifth and finished 3-for-4 and three RBIs. It was Urshela’s ninth homer and the three hits raised his average to .308 in 77 games.
“He continues to be huge for us,’’ Boone said. “Domingo gives up two runs in the first inning and Gio gets them right back in the second.’’
Aaron Hicks added a homer in the sixth to make it 6-2. Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton didn’t allow a run in the seventh and eighth and David Hale recorded the final three outs in the ninth.
Boone didn’t see the final seven innings because he was thrown out by plate umpire Brennan Miller, a Triple-A umpire who was filling in, during the second for yelling at Miller in an attempt to take the heat off his players and coaches who were all over Miller about his strike zone. It was Boone’s third ejection of the year and he earned it.
The manager got tossed while screaming from the dugout and then sprinted onto the field to make sure Miller heard every word as did the YES Network microphones in the mostly empty stadium.
“My guys are f—— savages in that f—— box … tighten this s— up,’’ screamed Boone.
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